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Public Affairs

Advisors: Associate Professor Walter Huber, Assistant Professor Stacy Parker

The interdisciplinary major in public affairs is designed to foster civic education and participation. Students who major in public affairs will be exposed to a plethora of views, insights and theories on government, business and society. This major gives the student the necessary tools for democratic citizenship. The public affairs major helps prepare students for a lifetime of engaged citizenship in the larger world where practical political decision making and democratic deliberation occur.

Career-wise, the program is designed to assist students to work in various agencies and organizations at the national, state and local levels by improving their skills to conduct planning, analysis and evaluation of programs, projects and the functioning of organizations. Additionally, the public affairs major is designed to prepare students for study beyond the bachelor's degree in such areas as law, public administration and political science. Students are encouraged to view their undergraduate education as part of a long-range process of rigorous professional education and preparation. Students interested in majoring in public affairs should contact the advisor at their earliest possible convenience.

The public affairs program does not offer a minor; students must either complete the major or simply use public affairs courses as electives or to fulfill requirements within another major or minor course of study.

Major (42 Hours)

The Public Affairs major exposes students to the analytical study of social issues; it is problem-centered, not focused on the dynamics of any particular academic “discipline.” To assist the student, the core ideas covered have been broken into seven distinct learning areas.

  1. Productivity; money and public finance; investment; and fiscal integrity (9 hours)
            Requirements: Economics 215, 216; Accounting 201
  2. Guarantees and entitlements; distribution of benefits/subsidies/transfer payments; balance between the public and private sectors; government mandates; regulation; and organizations and bureaucracies (6 hours)
            Requirements: Political Science 321; 322
  3. Social stability; political process; federalism; law and constitutionalism and political power and corruption (9 hours)
            Requirements: Political Science 111, 211
            Electives: one course from Political Science 311, 312, 313, 314; History 383
  4. Social Perspectives (3 hours)
            Electives: one course from History 212 or Sociology 216
  5. Problem-solving; inference; and methodological skills (6 hours)
            Requirements: Political Science 341 Theory and Methods
            Electives: one course from Economics 325; Mathematics 140, 340; Psychology 232
  6. Balance between the individual and the state (3 hours)
            Requirements: Philosophy 203
  7. Practical experience and development of research skills (6 hours)
            Requirements: Interdisciplinary 300 (Internship for 3 credit hours); Interdisciplinary 490
            Public Affairs Senior Seminar

IDIS-490: Public Affairs Senior Seminar (3) involves an intensive research project reflecting the student's skills and interests in a public affairs topic. Each student works individually with a faculty member in completing the project. Prerequisite: senior status or permission of instructor.